Massage therapy guidelines defined

CLINTON — The Clinton City Council is on its way to approving more clearly defined massage therapy establishment guidelines after this week's Committee of the Whole meeting.

The council forwarded amendments Tuesday for official approval at the Feb. 26 regular business meeting, amendments which council members and massage therapists in Clinton alike believe will better regulate legitimate therapy institutions.

The updates to Chapter 115 of the city's Code of Ordinances have been forwarded to shore up regulations to address potentially unlawful delivery practices of massage therapy services, according to the ordinance forwarded by the council this week.

Councilman Bill Schemers spearheaded Tuesday's discussion after he stated he has been approached in recent months by several citizens and officials regarding the seemingly murky language of the existing ordinance.

"There were some questions that were brought to me, both from citizens and from council, so we revisited this," Schemers said Tuesday.

Previous council meetings and meeting agendas have shed light on the issue, with records showing various legitimate massage therapy establishments voicing concerns over certain potentially unlawful therapy practices happening in the city.

The new ordinance will better outline the business permitting process for massage therapy establishments, investigation of violations protocol, and the appeal process for those violations, among other subsections already in the existing ordinance.

One concerned professional therapist, Touch of Grace's Michelle Newsom, was on hand Tuesday to not only get some clarification of her own, but to voice her appreciation for the more solidly defined guidelines for the city's massage entities.

Newsom is contracted to provide services to several area business and industries such as Clinton Community College. Tuesday night, Newsom was concerned that certain language in the proposed amendments would eliminate her opportunity to do that – subsection 115.06 of the chapter discusses "nonconforming premises" in which massage therapy services are performed.

The council, along with City Attorney Patrick O' Connell, quickly said that terms relating to contractual business agreements such as Newsom's could be agreed upon.

"I thank you for clearly defining the repercussions of somebody in my field going beyond what they should," Newsom told the council regarding alleged unlawful massage practices in Clinton. "I appreciate the steps you've taken to clean up some things in this town."